By Winona LaDuke
Special to News From Indian Country May 2010
As we humans down here were planting trees for Earth Day, doing some big time recycling, making a bunch of important pronouncements, we have been massively upstaged by Mother Earth, and her stunning volcano was saying to us Check this out!.... You all think you are something, well let me show you how its done
In spite of all the technology and money in the world, Mother Earth is still more powerful than all of us. The price tag to European airlines hit some $l.7 billion recently in lost flights, not to mention all those flowers and vegetables wilting and withering from northern Africa that cant get anywhere. And, we cant control our Mother, despite all the weapons in the world.
But, Iceland put itself back on the world map this last couple of weeks didnt she?
Maybe a closer look we can also learn a bit from her. Icelands economy recently collapsed, and unless they are able to get a big boon out of this volcano thing, I am not sure of their plan ahead. The smart guys over there had bet on a couple of things- a banking industry, and until recently a NATO base. The banking bubble collapsed, big time at the end of 2008, leaving Icelands economy in a shambles - begging for bail out loans, from anyone who would dance with them. Since the NATO Base, which provided the other bulk of foreign money to the country had already been shut down, the country has been in pretty significant disarray.
I thought President Obama had inherited a mess to deal with in a presidency. But, it turns out that the first openly lesbian prime minister in the world is in Iceland. It has to bite, to be Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir.
Shes likely really stressed out, after the last prime minister resigned in the nadir of economic disaster. (Hes probably sitting on a fishing yacht in the Mediterranean right now if you ask me.)
This must be a bit like riding some 70 foot waves with a long board. I am hoping Johanna can surf.
So, my big thoughts on the lessons of this for me? First, maybe I dont forget Iceland for a while. Then, what about thinking about a durable economy, not based on bubbles of military and banking dollars? (Albeit the US militarys 700 bases in the world do bring in some hard cash, and will probably do so for a good while, but one might want to retain a diversified economy in any case).
Then there is that unpredictable future. The last time the volcano erupted, she blew for fourteen months ( l821-23). And, the Angry Sister Katla hasnt even awoken yet. She has erupted l6 times since 930, one time tearing chunks of ice the size of houses and throwing them at the people.
Lakis eruption in l783, killed a quarter of the population, and changed global weather patterns, bringing record snow to New Jersey and drought to Egypt. So, there ya go. Despite all our smarts, were still small Earthlings, and Mother Earth is still the Big Mama.
Take a good look though. This is some front row seats to the birth of new land, and for crying out loud, respect your Mother.